R.C. Grant shares his memories of serving in the Navy at the end of World War II
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
R.C. Grant lost his father when he was a young boy growing up in Rossville, Georgia.
"My dad said 'I would go to Fort Leavenworth to keep my kids from going through what I did'," Mr. Grant said. "That's how bad war was to him in World War I."
R.C. and his two older brothers all went to war in the 1940's.
"(Mr. Grant's mother) had to sign for me. They said now he won't have to go overseas until he's 18," Mr. Grant said. "I spent my 18th birthday in the Philippines."
Mr. Grant joined the Navy in March 1945. That was just a couple of months before the war ended in Europe, but the fighting was still happening in the Pacific. After training he served on the USS Rixey.
"I was a baker," Mr. Grant said. "My war time job was the port loader on the 20 millimeter gun."
He baked bread in the morning and cakes in the afternoon, but he didn't see much fighting.
"When they dropped the Atomic Bomb we were sitting at Okinawa on the USS Rixey loaded with Sea Bees and nurses waiting to go into Tokyo," Mr. Grant said. "When they dropped that it was over."
The USS Rixey had a big sick bay on the ship. It was great for troops who needed medical attention.
"The thing that I honor most is we got to go up to Manchuria before we decommissioned and brought the prisoners of war back," Mr. Grant said.
He said they carried about 150 Prisoners Of War back home. Mr. Grant says those memories of seeing those POW's stuck with him, but through the years he didn't spend much time dwelling on his experience in World war II. Now ,later in life, he thinks a lot about what happened.
"They still play those movies, and I don't know why I watch them," Mr. Grant said. "You get down there, and it just tears you up."
Our thoughts tonight are with the Grant family. R.C. Grant's wife Jewell passed away on April 19, 2017.
She suffered a stroke and passed away a few weeks later. Mr. and Mrs. Grant were married for 66 years.